TO THE MEMBERSHIP OF DISTRICT 1, REGION 1, November 12, 2020
National Convention: In this year of Covid-19 our National Convention is going to look much different than in past years. This year it will be a virtual convention, streamed all across the country. The theme of the main Convention this year is Vision 20/20. There are a good number of free pre-convention workshops planned and the main Convention itself will take place from Thursday, November 26 to Saturday, November 28, 2020 inclusive. You can view the agenda for all of this on the National website which is nfu.ca/2020convention.
Kinkora Place in Kinkora has been booked for the main Convention days so that NFU members across PEI can have easy access to watch and participate in the Convention this year. In this way, we can get together as a group to be part of Convention. Convention days will start at 1:00 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, Nov. 26 and 27th and at 1:45 p.m. on Saturday, Nov. 28. The keynote address will be given at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, November 26. by Seth Klein, entitled “The Good War – Mobilizing Canada for the Climate Emergency”. The meetings will be projected onto a screen at Kinkora Place so you will not need a laptop, iPad, etc.
Registration for the free pre-Convention webinars and for the main Convention can be made by contacting the National NFU office at email@example.com or by calling 1- 306-652-9465. Registration fees this year are $75 for members which include the farm family, farm unit and associate; $35 for youth members and $100 for non-members. Consideration will be given if cost is a barrier to anyone’s attendance.
Presentation to Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability: On November 5, 2020 the NFU made a very comprehensive presentation to this Committee of the Legislature. Our presentation focussed on the very important link between the protection of the land and the water. It seemed that such a discussion was beyond the grasp of many members of that Committee which is a sad commentary about those who are supposed to be representing the people and should be aware and concerned about these matters. You can view our presentation on the website nfu/pei or if you would like a hard copy, please call Edith Ling at 902-368-1262.
I hope you will take advantage of being able to take part in the National NFU Convention this year, and I look forward to seeing you in Kinkora beginning on Nov. 26.
Douglas Campbell, District Director
NFU District 1, Region 1 Newsletter
March 12, 2019
Hello to all NFU Members in District 1, Region 1:
It is time to connect with you all by means of this newsletter to let you know what the NFU has been doing in the past few months. Late in 2019 a good number of NFU members from P. E. I. attended the 50th Anniversary Convention of the NFU which was held in Winnipeg – the place where the Founding Convention took place. This anniversary convention was a time to look back at the past achievements of the organization over the last fifty years and to develop a vision for our continued involvement in the agricultural scene well into the future. We were particularly glad to have Urban and Mary Laughlin attend the Convention once again. Urban was presented with a lovely plaque in recognition of his contribution to the NFU as well as recognition of the fact he had attended all fifty National Conventions as well as the Founding Convention. He is the only person in Canada to hold this record. Congratulations, Urban, and many thanks to you and Mary for all the work you have done. Thanks too to Reg Phelan for all the work he has done for many years on the National Board. Thanks to Stella Sheppard for all her support during Reg’s involvement. Byron Petrie is our new National Board Member.
District Convention – Our District Convention this year will take place on Tuesday, March 31, 2020 at the Milton Community Hall. Storm date will be the following Thursday. Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the meeting starting at 10:00 a.m. Our guest speaker will be the National NFU Women’s President, Coral Sproule who will be speaking on climate change. The Minister of Agriculture will also be invited to speak as well as a number of other individuals. Resolutions will be considered and elections will take place for District officials. Assistance for child care is available. Watch for more convention details in another newsletter.
Land – As has been the case over the past few years, we have concentrated on land issues in P. E. I. We were extremely disturbed to see the farm land in Bedeque fall into the hands of Rebecca Irving (daughter of Mary Jean Irving) even though the MacLaughlan Government had denied the request at election time in the spring of 2019. However, that same Government had provided another way for this to happen when they came up with changes to the Business Corporations Act approximately one year earlier. So while it looked good at election time to deny the Irving request, there was another “back door” opened for the deal to proceed. The Business Corporation Act made it possible for a corporation to corporation sale with no regard given to the fact land was the major asset. Consequently, this sale did not go through the normal channels of IRAC and then on to the Minister of Agriculture & Land and on to the Provincial Cabinet. The sale is still under investigation by IRAC and hopefully their report will be received by the Government within the next few weeks.
On Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2020 the NFU met with Agriculture & Land Minister, Hon. Bloyce Thompson and his Deputy Minister Brian Matheson. We covered a lot of ground in our allotted forty-five minute session. We emphasized that the Business Corporations Act must be changed with regard to corporation to corporation sales involving land.
We were interested in becoming informed on the process of consultations which will take place on improvements to the Lands Protection Act. This is still in the developmental stage according to the Minister and Deputy. A matter of concern to the NFU is that we were told that the consultations will cover the Lands Protection Act and the Planning Act as well. This could very well revolve into discussion on the municipal governance issue, land use, etc. The NFU sees this as a possible method to confuse the issue. Yes, land use is very much a concern of the Lands Protection Act to the extent that the land is being mined by the industrial way of farming which is being carried on. Land ownership is the real issue and this topic is what the consultations should address. I would strongly urge you to make time to attend a consultation session when the schedule becomes known.
We were told the Minister does not have the necessary information from IRAC to determine if corporations inter-connect. This is extremely important and the Minister must insist that IRAC delve into this issue and inform him accordingly. We reminded the Minister that he has always had the power, under the 1982 Lands Protection Act to deem inter-connected corporations to be one corporation which would mean they could own 3,000 acres of arable land as well as up to 1,200 acres of non-arable land and could lease in and out up to 1,500 acres.
We asked that the Business and Corporate Registry be made much more user friendly and that the public be able to find out who the directors and shareholders of any registered corporation are, including numbered corporations.
Although we have issues to work on, we came away from the meeting feeling that the Minister has a real heart for the preservation of land for farming families. We were particularly pleased with his comment that “farmers should do the farming and processors do the processing” – something the NFU has been saying for years. We will see what happens and surely hold onto that comment!
A number of NFU members attended the meeting of the Select Standing Committee on Natural Resources and Environmental Sustainability earlier in January. Mr. Horace Carver, the author of “The Gift of Jurisdiction” and the Land Commissioner in 2012-13 spoke with the Select Standing Committee. His message to MLA’s was loud and clear – if you need additional information – get it. If the Lands Protection Act is being circumvented – fix it. He strongly advised that it is the Government that has the power to make things right and they need to take responsibility and do it.
Farm Land Banking – For many years, the NFU has supported the concept of farm land banking in order for retiring farmers to sell their land to the Government which, in turn, would make the land available to new and expanding farm families. Kevin Arsenault has compiled a comprehensive report on this topic and this was submitted to the Provincial Government in December 2019. To date, the Government has not seen fit to release the report to the public. The NFU is attempting to meet with the Premier, the Minister of Agriculture and Land and the Transportation Minister regarding the report. It appears that Hon. Steven Myers, Minister of Transportation will be in charge of farm land banking in PEI. This is wrong indeed. While Transportation may be the Department to purchase land, the conducting of the program should fall within the hands of the Agriculture & Land Department.
Fuel Negotiations – In the near future, your Collective Bargaining Committee will begin negotiations on a new fuel deal for NFU members. If you have concerns about the current program, please call one of the Committee members – Gordon Vessey at 902-629-1332 , Vernon MacLeod at 902-651-2406 or myself at 902-436-2518. We need and value your comments.
Survey – Angela Costello, a student in the Environmental Studies program at UPEI is doing a research project regarding species at risk along with Dr. Carolyn Peach Brown. Angela is interested in talking with young farmers to better understand the role they are playing or can play in the protection of the environment and species at risk on PEI. Participants are not required to know anything about species at risk in order to complete her survey. Then if farmers are interested in participating, she would conduct an interview. If interested, you can contact Angela at firstname.lastname@example.org or Dr. Carolyn Peach Brown at 902-620-5066 or email@example.com .
Trade Negotiatons – Recent trade negotiations have sealed the fate of farmers. The U.S., Canada and Mexico have ratified the CUSMA agreement and it now goes to the House of Commons to be debated. This is just a formality. For the dairy industry, it will mean a decreasing of our markets, and US milk will be coming into Canada. P.E.I.’s market share reduction will be taken out of the Canadian system which in turn will mean lower milk prices to dairy producers.
Crop Damage Due to Hurricane Dorian – By now farmers should have received a survey regarding damaged suffered due to Hurricane Dorian. I understand that the deadline to apply has been extended to February 13, 2020. If you have comments and/or concerns which you would like to pass on, please call me at 902-436-2518.
We look forward to seeing you at our District Convention on Tuesday, March 31, 2020
Douglas Campbell, NFU District Director, District 1, Region 1
NFU District 1, Region 1 Newsletter
March 12, 2019
DISTRICT CONVENTION – Our annual District Convention will be held on Tuesday, March 19, 2019 at the Milton Community Hall in North Milton (7 New Glasgow Rd., corner of Rte 7 and 224). Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m. and the meeting will be called to order at 10:00 a.m.
The registration fee of $20 per person will include a meal at noon. Adjournment is planned for 4:00 p.m. (The storm date is March 21, 2019). Assistance is available to those members who require child care in order to attend the Convention. If this is needed, please call Edith Ling at 902-368-1262.
The Minister of Communities, Land and Environment, Hon. Richard Brown has confirmed that he can attend and will address the Convention. Other speakers include Laurie Loane from the Agriculture Sector Council who will bring us up to date on tech. programs available for farmers and farm workers. Jean-Paul Arsenault will be speaking on the land issue. He was very much involved in the Horace Carver round of public consultations leading up to the Carver Commission report on the land. As well, we will hear from Mike Van den Heuvel who is conducting research on water levels in our rivers and streams. He will no doubt touch on the matter of high capacity wells and supplemental agricultural irrigation. Our land researchers, Mary and Chris Mermuys will update us on changes in land ownership in southern Kings Co. over the past year as far as GEBIS, GWBI, etc. and foreign investors is concerned. We will also have a short presentation from the Rural Coalition on the amalgamation issue.
We will be considering resolutions at the District Convention and members are encouraged to submit resolutions to the Resolutions Committee prior to Convention. The members of this Committee are: J. P. Hendricken, Gordon Carter and Ranald MacFarlane.
Resolutions are a very important part of any NFU Convention. Members of the NFU can submit resolutions to the District Convention which can become policy of the farm organization across Canada if they pass at the District, Regional and National Convention. This is one of the strengths of this great organization – members at the grass roots level assist in formulating policy. Members can also submit resolutions to the Resolutions Committee on the day of Convention.
Elections for the positions of District Director, Women’s District Director and Youth District Director will also take place at Convention.
Please be sure to take time to attend this important Convention and assist in making policy and deciding direction for the NFU in the days ahead.
Land – During the past year, much time has been spent by your Executive on the important issue of protecting farmland in PEI from land grabbing by large corporations and foreign investors. A very successful land forum was held on February 23, 2019 at the Farm Center in Charlottetown. Over two hundred people filled the meeting room and spilled over into the foyer. It was easy to see that the general public is becoming more and more involved and concerned about land issues in PEI. The mood of the attendees confirmed that something must be done immediately to stop the trend of land grabbing in this Province.
At the time of writing this newsletter, there is an application before IRAC for the purchase of over 2,200 acres of land in North Bedeque and area. Three corporations have applied to purchase this land – Indian River Farms Ltd., Long River Farms Ltd., and Galloway Farms Ltd. The shareholders of all three companies are members of, or are connected to, the Irving empire! Galloway Farms Ltd. (whose lone shareholder is Rebecca Irving – daughter of Mary Jean Irving) was registered in the Province on February 5, 2019 – a mere two days before the application for the purchase of the properties was made to IRAC. This, along with other transactions that have been taking place, is a blatant disregard for the spirit and intent of the Lands Protection Act and is a deliberate attempt to use a loophole in the Act to obtain more land. I would expect that the application would soon go forth to Executive Council (Cabinet) for a decision.
Fuel Agreement – On March 6, 2019 your Collective Bargaining Committee negotiated a fuel agreement with Island Petroleum Ltd. This agreement will result in an increase in discount to NFU members. This discount will be taken off at the time of delivery. It is so important for NFU members to identify themselves to the company. If the letters ” NFU” do not appear next to your name on your delivery slip, it means the company does not know you are a member of the NFU and you miss out on the discount. So make sure they do know you belong to the NFU. If you are unsure, please contact them in Charlottetown at 902-566-5011; mailing address is P. O. Box 130, Charlottetown C1A 7K2 or at 155 Belvedere Avenue, or send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org . The contact information for the Summerside office is by phone at 902-436-2211; mailing address is 231 MacEwen Road, Summerside C1N 2P4 or you can send an email to email@example.com
**If you have received a new Marked Diesel Permit or if your permit has been renewed, please take or send a copy of the permit to Island Petroleum at either address noted above.
Foreign Workers Information Program – Planned for March 26, 2019 from 9:30 a.m to 3:00 p.m. at Charlottetown Inn & Convention Centre (old Best Western), 235 Grafton Street, Charlottetown. Registration fee is $20 and hot lunch provided. Pre-registration is necessary by March 19, 2019. Contact Tara Murphy at firstname.lastname@example.org or telephone 902-569-7611.
I do hope you will plan to attend the District Convention on March 19, 2019 and take part in discussions which will lead to the NFU course of action for the coming year.
District Director, NFU District 1, Region 1
NFU District 1, Region 1 Newsletter
January 31, 2019
Hello to all members of the National Farmers Union in District 1, Region 1 (PEI) and a special welcome to new members who have joined this organization over the past number of months. The past months have been very busy for the NFU District Board as we try to keep abreast of the occurrences with regard to land purchases by large corporations.
District Convention – Will be held at Milton Hall on Tuesday, March 19 (March 21 is storm date).
National Convention – Nine members from PEI attended the 49th annual NFU Convention which was held in Saskatoon in late November. The theme was Food Sovereignty and many speakers and panels dealt with this subject. Newly-elected National officers include Katie Ward as President; Toby Malloy, Women’s President; Stuart Oke, Youth President; Cam Goff, 1st Vice President (Policy); Stewart Wells, 2nd Vice President (Operations), Coral Sproule, Women’s Vice President and Jessie MacInnis is the Youth Vice President. Our member on the National Board is Reg Phelan. Women’s Advisory Committee member is Carinna Phillips.
(Note from Edith Ling, Women’s District Director. I am very happy to tell you that the recipient of the Grass Roots Award at our National Convention in Saskatoon was our District Director, Doug Campbell. As you know, Doug is a very hard working District Director and this recognition is richly deserved by him. It also reflects the support he receives from his wife, Kathy and family). The award is given for exemplary leadership and work within the NFU.
50th Anniversary Convention – will be held in Winnipeg in late November 2019, the place where the NFU began in 1969. Plans are in progress to have a fitting convention and celebration in Winnipeg, and I hope you will be able to attend.
Land – As mentioned earlier, a lot of our time and effort in past months has centered on the Lands Protection Act and the ways in which large corporations in particular have been allowed to use loopholes in the legislation to amass large acreages of land. We held several meetings with the Minister responsible, Hon. Richard Brown to emphasize to him the seriousness of the situation. We have also asked that the IRAC website be made much more user-friendly so that the general public can see the various land transfers taking place. We have also asked that the IRAC website display what IRAC’s recommendation to Executive Council (Cabinet) was on each transaction. At present, the only information given is the Executive Council decision so it is impossible to find out what IRAC recommended on each transaction. Mr. Brown told us last spring that he was ordering IRAC to conduct a land review which would show the amount of land owned by non-residents and corporations. We tried all summer to get a copy of the terms of reference for this study but this document was not available until November. To say the least, it is a very vague and shallow terms of reference. We have since found out that Mr. Brown’s Department has come up with some figures on land holdings which they have sent to IRAC for verification. (IRAC was too busy with the amalgamation issue to do the study, we are told). These figures are expected sometime this month. At the time of writing this newsletter, we are investigating a purported sale of a large tract of land in Prince County.
Land Forum – It would appear the best way to have necessary changes made to the Lands Protection Act would be for the general public to become much more knowledgeable and vocal about what is going on. To this end, the Coalition for the Protection of PEI Land (of which the NFU is a member) is planning a public forum on land for Saturday afternoon, February 23, 2019 at the Farm Center, Charlottetown at 1:30 p.m. (Storm date is March 16, 2019). Senator Diane Griffin has been booked to speak on land grabbing on the national scope. Other panelists are Ian Petrie and myself (Doug Campbell). The title of the forum is “Land Grabbing on PEI: How the Lands Protection Act is Being Violated and Why Islanders Should Be Concerned”. Plan now to attend.
Trade Negotiations – The NFU is very concerned about the outcome of the USMCA (US, Mexico, Canada Agreement), particularly as it affects supply-managed commodities. Class 6 and 7 milk pricing in this deal will be ended and Americans will again be able to flood the market with discounted diafiltered milk. Canadian dairy farmers will be unable to compete with this. During the TPP negotiations, Canada gave away 3.25% of our domestic market in dairy, poultry and eggs. Now the USMCA deal has resulted in giving another 3.25% of our market to the United States. Compensation for dairy farmers amounts to giving money to farmers who expand their operations, use more modern technology, etc. Dairy farmers never wanted taxpayers’ money in the form of subsidies – all they wanted was the supply management program they had initially. Any forthcoming compensation should be available to all dairy farmers.
Study on Environmental Protection and Species At Risk – Dr. Carolyn Peach Brown, UPEI Professor is conducting this study and is interested in gaining the perspective of young farmers. If you are interested, call Dr. Peach Brown at 902-620-5066 or email email@example.com .
Rural Coalition – This coalition to fight amalgamation of rural communities is attempting to raise funds to go forward with a constitutional challenge on this issue. Lawyers have worked for free to put together the challenge. Obviously the cost of Court Action will have to be paid and the Coalition has been given a figure of $15,000 for this – a greatly reduced figure. If the challenge is successful, it would make the Municipal Governance Act illegal. The goal now is to raise the money for the Court Action. Memberships are available for $10 and can be sent to Rural Coalition of PEI, P. O. Box 152, Georgetown, P. E. I. C0A 1L0. Be sure to include your name and address
Newsletters by Email – As a cost saving measure, members with email addresses will now receive newsletters that way. If you wish to still receive a mailed copy, please call District Secretary, Dan Murphy at 902-954-0803 or email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Watch for the next newsletter with details of our annual District Convention on March 19.
Douglas Campbell, NFU District Director
District Newsletter – March 2018
Download a pdf version here: Dist. Newsletter March 22, 2018
To: The Membership of NFU District 1, Region 1
District Convention – Our annual District Convention will be held on Tuesday, April 3 at the Milton Community Hall in North Milton (7 New Glasgow Rd., corner of Rte. 7 and 224). Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m. and the meeting will be called to order at 10:00 a.m. The registration fee is $20 per person and this includes a meal at noon. Adjournment is planned for 4:00 p.m. (The storm date is Thursday, April 5). Assistance is available to those members who require child care in order to attend the Convention. If this is needed, please call Edith Ling at 902-368-1262.
The Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Robert Henderson will attend and will address the delegates following the noon meal. Hon. Richard Brown, Minister of Communities, Land and Environment will speak to the delegates on the Lands Protection Act. I am sure our members will have lots of questions for Mr. Brown following his presentation. He is also Minister responsible for the Water Act, holding ponds, high capacity wells, etc.
We will also have a presentation on the trends in the level of organic matter in Island soils. This will be delivered by Judith Nyiraneza who is a Research Scientist with Agriculture Canada in Charlottetown.
We will be considering resolutions at the District Convention and members are encouraged to submit resolutions to the Resolutions Committee prior to Convention. The members of this Committee are: J.P. Hendricken, Gordon Carter and Ranald MacFarlane.
Resolutions are a very important part of any District Convention. One of the excellent things about the NFU is the fact that members at the grass roots level are able to submit resolutions which can become national policy of the NFU (if the resolutions are national in scope and are passed at the District, Regional and National levels). I would expect that the Locals will hold meetings prior to the District Convention and resolutions to go forward to the District Convention can be dealt with at that time. Of course, members can also submit resolutions to the Resolutions Committee on the day of the Convention as well.
Elections for the positions of District Director, Women’s District Director and Youth District Director will take place at the Convention. Please make time to attend this Convention and take part in developing policy and direction for our organization in the days ahead.
Farm and Food Care – The NFU has serious concerns about this program which was instituted with $100,000 of provincial funds (for the first year). The Board of this organization includes representatives of Sobeys, Cavendish Farms, two Deputy Ministers, along with a minority of farmers, ADL, Agricultural Awareness Committee, Canadian Centre for Food Integrity, Potato Board, and a Dairy Farmers of PEI representative. Another Government study previously found that a very high percentage of Islanders already have a moderate to high level of trust in Island farmers. The group will also help in the distribution of the magazine “The Real Dirt on Farming”. The NFU sees this whole endeavour as a way to gloss over the real issues of farming from the survival of family farms, the load of debt farmers are carrying, to land and water issues, etc., etc. Those at the table who have the loudest voices, i.e. government and agri-business will be the ones whose voices and actions will prevail. It would seem that there are much better ways to spend $100,000 i.e. dealing with production issues, regulations, land and water issues.
Fuel Agreement – On March 7, 2018 the NFU Collective Bargaining Committee was successful in negotiating a fuel agreement for NFU members with Island Petroleum Ltd. The same program will apply for 2018 as in the year previous and the discount will be applied at the time of delivery of the fuel. The company has plans to be in the propane distribution business within a year so it is possible we can negotiate a deal for propane users as well at that time. The important part to remember is that in order to receive the discount, please make sure that Island Petroleum knows you are a NFU Member.
Fertilizer Agreement – The Collective Bargaining Committee will soon be negotiating an agreement on fertilizer for NFU members for 2018. Details will follow.
Meeting with Minister of Agriculture & Fisheries – The NFU had a meeting in February with the new Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Hon. Robert Henderson. This introductory meeting included a lesson on the history and philosophy of the National Farmers Union. Other topics discussed were the Farm and Food Care program, the issue of multi-faceted corporations buying up large tracts of land, the water act – holding ponds and wells. We are pleased to see in his Mandate that the Minister is responsible to promote environmental stewardship – this surely includes the land and water.
Congratulations to NFU members Allan, Coleen and Jeff MacQuarrie of MacTalla Farms in Bonshaw on winning the Holstein Canada Master Breeders Award recently. This award was started in 1929 and since that time there have only been nineteen farms in PEI to receive it. It is great to see a deserving Island farm family receive this highly-regarded award.
Select Standing Committee on Communities, Land and Environment – On November 2, 2017 Reg Phelan and myself met with this Committee to bring them up to date on the ways large amounts of Island farmland are being gobbled up. The Committee passed a motion to ask Cavendish Farms, Vanco Farms and the Asian Investors group to appear before a future Committee meeting to discuss their land holdings.
It is quite interesting to know that officials of the Dept. of Environment have no idea how many agricultural irrigation ponds have been put in and no idea where they are located. They also have no idea on the number of new low capacity wells which have been dug to fill the ponds. This is not surprising as there were no regulations governing the construction of the ponds – just simply suggestions or “recommendations”.
I hope to see you all at the District Convention on April 3, 2108.
Douglas Campbell, District Director, telephone 902-436-2518
District Newsletter – February 2018
Download a pdf version: NFU District 1 Newsletter Feb. 2018.
Our annual District Convention will be held on Tuesday, April 3, 2018 at the Milton Community Hall in North Milton. Registration will begin at 9:30 a.m. with the meeting getting underway at 10:00 a.m. (Storm date is the following Thursday). The registration fee of $20 per person includes a noon buffet as well. Elections will be held for the three district director positions – District Director, Women’s District Director and Youth District Director. Resolutions will be considered and if passed, those of a regional or national nature will go on to the regional meeting later in the year. This year we will hear a presentation from an Agriculture Canada scientist on the trend of organic matter levels in Island soils. The new Minister of Agriculture, Hon. Robert Henderson has been invited to attend, and we have asked the new Minister of Communities, Land and Environment, Hon. Richard Brown to speak on the Lands Protection Act. At the time of writing this newsletter, neither Minister has confirmed his attendance. If you need childcare in order to attend the Convention, please call Edith Ling at 902-368-1262 as assistance is available to those members requiring it.
Fuel Negotiations – The Collective Bargaining Committee will meet soon to negotiate a petroleum agreement for NFU members for the coming year. For the past number of years, we have had a collective bargaining agreement with Island Petroleum.
Land Symposium – Cooper Institute is organizing a symposium on the Lands Protection Act. This meeting will be held at the Milton Hall on Saturday, March 3 beginning at 1:00 p.m. The storm date is the following Saturday. Included on the agenda is a panel which will discuss the history of the land and various aspects of the Lands Protection Act.
Land – The NFU continues to be greatly concerned about the apparent loopholes which have been found and used in the Lands Protection Act. We are disturbed to see large holdings of land being bought up by multi-faceted corporations, thus making it very difficult for young farmers to obtain land or for existing family farms to expand or maintain rented land. The NFU met with the Select Standing Committee on Communities, Land and Environment on November 2, 2017 and a copy of our presentation can be found on our website at nfu/pei.ca. If you prefer to have a hard copy, please call Edith Ling at 902-368-1262. The Standing Committee passed a motion to have the Irvings, Vanco Farms and representatives of the Buddhists appear before the Committee to disclose information on their land holdings in this province. At the present time, no date has been set for this meeting. The Lands Protection Act definitely needs to be tightened up to keep our land available for Island farm families and to prevent land speculation by foreign investors. The problem as we see it is that the political will is just not there to do anything about this problem. This has to change!
Forestry – Almost equally disturbing is the wholesale clear cutting of Island woodlands. It is difficult to understand why this is happening as woodland is not considered part of a land owner’s aggregate land holding. Woods are so beneficial to help maintain the water table, to reduce wind and soil erosion, and to provide a wildlife habitat. Now with carbon pricing on the horizon, trees are important to sequester carbon from the atmosphere so it is all the more reason to maintain our woodlands.
Water Act – The new Water Act was rushed through the Provincial Legislature in its dying days. One good point is that fracking is now banned in this province. Work will continue on writing the Regulations under the Act. Public meetings are supposed to be held on developing the Regulations, and I would urge everyone to attend a meeting when they are held. Water is so important for all forms of life, and it must be preserved and protected.
Many irrigation ponds were constructed and new wells dug in the past year, no doubt in an effort to get into place before the Water Act came into being. These ponds were constructed with no regulations – just a sheet of “recommendations” from the Dept. of Environment. Many of these ponds have several wells pumping water into the pond, and a tremendous amount of water is being extracted from the ground. Government officials continue to explain that the ponds can be supplied by snowmelt and spring run-off – by the time the water is needed for irrigation, I am afraid the snowmelt and run-off water will be long gone due to evaporation. It will be very interesting to see what the Regulations have to say in regard to these holding ponds and wells.
Meeting with Minister of Agriculture – The NFU has a meeting scheduled for February 6, 2018 with Hon. Robert Henderson. Many of these issues will be discussed at that time.
AGRICULTURE AND NAFTA – The United States wants to end Canada’s supply management system for dairy and poultry within the next decade The US also wants to end a special program known as Clause 7 which allows Canadian producers to sell a certain cheese-making protein at less than world prices. This reduces American imports into Canada, and the US has an oversupply of this protein. Future talks on NAFTA are planned for late February.
In Union is Strength
Douglas Campbell, District Director